Eco-friendly or “green” buildings are becoming increasingly popular among Romtec’s customers and building regulations have begun to push for more sustainable options. When designing a structure, Romtec takes these considerations into account to make sure that we can meet the local building standards and help our customers get the building they want without sacrificing the efficiency or functionality of the structure.
One of the major reasons to choose environmentally friendly buildings is the cost. Eco-friendly options are becoming more and more available every year and can lower the operational cost of the structure. Some “green” projects can even qualify for government grants and rebates for implementing eco-friendly options, particularly for structures that earn LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification. LEED certification relies on building scores in 5 areas, including Energy and Atmosphere, Sustainable Sites, Indoor Environmental Quality, Materials and Resources, and Water Efficiency.
LEED certifications come in different levels, with standard certification at the lowest, up through Silver, Gold, and Platinum as the structure scores higher in the 5 areas. Federal, State, and City governments all offer different incentives for achieving a certain level of certification, including faster permit approval, reduced taxes, and other perks. Regardless of the level of certification, buildings that receive high LEED rankings inherently reduce operating costs and boost a building’s performance.
When designing an eco-friendly structure, Romtec examines the structure, accessories, building materials, and even the building orientation to see how we can increase energy efficiency. Some of the most popular ways to increase energy efficiency come from natural ventilation and lighting, efficient fixtures, and even a step further with the use of solar panels or living roof structures.
Natural ventilation and lighting can create a more pleasant and friendly environment inside the structure while also providing an energy efficient restroom. For natural ventilation, Romtec often supplies door louvers and vents to allow ample fresh air to enter the structure without compromising the security of the building. Kick-proof wall vents can be installed in the walls of our buildings, set in the block, which are hardy and unable to be kicked in by vandals. Our gable vents are installed in the gable ends of the structure and too high to be in reach of vandals. Both of these vents feature a wire weave mesh to keep out large pests and keep the building secure while allowing fresh air into the structure.
Ventilation and fresh air in a restroom structure can make all the difference and can prevent odors from lingering inside the building. By harnessing the fresh air outside of the structure, Romtec can provide more efficient buildings that do not require mechanical ventilation.
Like ventilation, natural lighting can change the environment inside a structure. For structures that are not restrooms and do not require as much privacy, Romtec can install efficient vinyl windows to provide light. Many of our structures are restroom buildings, however, and require privacy inside the structure. To provide natural lighting while retaining privacy, Romtec can supply skylights in the roofing and gable windows as well as frosted windows along the walls to let in natural light and sunshine.
Natural Ventilation and lighting are easy ways to make a structure more efficient, especially when paired with efficient interior fixtures. Efficient or “green” hardware focuses on the conservation of resources, such as water and/or power, while remaining functional. Especially in a restroom building, it is important that function is not impeded. Over the years, Romtec has added more and more efficient options for various fixtures in our buildings, including both water and power efficient fixtures.
Romtec can offer water efficient fixtures in a couple of ways. First, Romtec can provide low-flow toilets to conserve water and control how much water is used during a flush cycle. This can be controlled further by providing dual flushometers, which offer a lower flow flush for liquids, and a higher flow flush for solids. These conserve water by even further limiting the amount of water that is needed to flush the toilet and can improve the functionality of the toilet. In addition to the water used by the toilets, Romtec can also offer timed, push button sinks, to control the amount of water used while washing hands.
Like water, Romtec can also supply fixtures to reduce the consumption of power by a structure. These include timed lights, which run on a schedule and prevent lights from constantly being on in a structure, LED lights which produce as much light as incandescent lights but with a much lower electricity consumption and motion lights which only turn on when they sense that someone is inside the building.
In addition to natural lighting and ventilation, and ecofriendly fixtures, Romtec can take efficiency a step further by providing solar panels or a living roof structure to further reduce the environmental impact of a structure.
Solar panels, while expensive in the past, are becoming more cost efficient to use and can reduce or eliminate a structure’s reliance on the local power grid. Additionally, if the solar panels installed on a structure produce more power than the structure needs, power can be fed back into the power grid to generate money for the facility. Power added to the grid from solar panels also provides green power to the local community, and helps more people utilize a clean and efficient power source.
While solar panels help to harness the power of the sun, living roofs utilize the power of plants and natural processes to make a structure more efficient. Living roof structures are roofs layered with a combination of membranes and vegetation that can help insulate a structure and reduce the stormwater runoff. They can also “help mitigate the heat island effect, create habitats, filter pollutants, sequester carbon and even increase agricultural and amenity space” (Baldwin, n.d.). Much of this is achieved by the natural power of plants, which can filter air and water, store water for future use, and provide protection and insulation of a structure. Living roof structures are gaining popularity and traction in the United States, having already gained popularity overseas. (Baldwin, n.d.)
Moving forward, Romtec hopes to be able to supply more and more eco-friendly options to our customers. Currently, Romtec can provide more basic eco-friendly options such as natural light and ventilation to more advanced options such as solar panels and living roofs. We make it our goal to meet our customer’s needs and have expanded our eco-friendly offering to fully meet the needs of our customer while retaining the functionality that our structures are known for. Eco-friendly or “green” structures carry many benefits, and we are proud to be able to provide these structures.
Baldwin, E. An Architect’s Guide To: Green Roofs. architizer.com. Retrieved 23 July 2021, from https://architizer.com/blog/product-guides/product-guide/green-roofs/.